Heart failure is a common but complex clinical syndrome where the heart cannot pump enough blood to support the needs of other organs in the body.
Heart failure occurs when the heart becomes too weak or stiff to pump enough blood around the body. Symptoms and signs include breathlessness, extreme fatigue, reduced exercise capacity and fluid retention resulting in weight gain and/or swelling (especially of lower limbs and abdomen). Symptoms can severely impact a person’s quality of life, and may be life-threatening.
People may have symptoms of heart failure for many years before receiving a diagnosis. Most often, heart failure is diagnosed when patients have an acute episode due to worsening of their symptoms, requiring emergency admission to hospital.
More than 15 million people in Europe are estimated to be living with heart failure. It is a leading cause of hospitalisation, causing almost 2 million admissions a year in Europe. Its prevalence is predicted to rise in line with ageing of the population and improved survival rates for other long-term conditions.